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What is Nociception?


What is Nociception?

Nociception is our sense of pain. 

It's what allows us to know if something is harmful to our bodies.

Like when we cut or bruise ourselves, or when we strain our muscles, or burn and freeze our skin.


What does under-sensitivity look like?

If you're under sensitive to it you might not notice when you might:

  • be hurt and continue causing further injury

  • hold or touch burning hot or freezing surfaces

  • not realise things may hurt others and so harm them

  • not seek out medical support until the injury is advanced

  • not tell others when injured

  • engage in activities that could harm or even seek them out

  • not react to pain or do so in unconventional ways


What helps?

  • be aware of alternate expressions of pain; the autistic person may not show pain in the same way or may not show it at all

  • learn how to spot the signs of, and check for damage,

  • be aware and remove hazards

  • protective equipment during sports such as clothing, helmets, and pads

  • for the home, it could be soft furnishings and carpets

  • hot things should have temperature indicators

  • plugs can have covers on them

  • safe lights and hobs like induction hobs that don't burn


What does over-sensitivity look like?

If you're oversensitive to it you may:

  • find small cuts and bruises may really hurt

  • avoid rough activities and not feel safe in crowds and busy places as this may cause you anxiety

  • avoid all physical contact with others such as hugs or touching due to pain

  • seek out medical support often or not tell others due to being dismissed over your life

  • worry often that you're ill or that there's something wrong


What helps?

  • ask before touching

  • learn about the body to know when it's damaged

  • be understanding and compassionate about anxiety

  • don't dismiss or invalidate their experience of pain

  • learn about co-occurring pain conditions like fibromyalgia, hypermobility, and bowel conditions